Week in Review: April 7

The Week in Review provides an overview of the past week’s top health care content, including industry news and trends, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Medical Laboratories news, and upcoming events.


Industry News

Antibiotic "Link to Bowel Cancer Precursor"

People who take antibiotics for a long time are more likely to develop growths on the bowel which can be a precursor to cancer, a study suggests. Researchers say this adds to emerging evidence that the diversity of bugs in the gut could have role in the development of tumors. Their paper appears in the journal Gut. But experts warn that the early results need further investigation and say people should not stop taking antibiotics. Via BBC.

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About-Face on "Obesity Paradox": Extra Fat Does Raise Risk of Death

Being overweight or obese at some point in adulthood may increase the risk of early death, a new study finds. The findings contradict the so-called "obesity paradox," a phenomenon seen in previous studies in which overweight people seemed to have a reduced risk of early death compared to those who were of normal weight. But these prior studies relied on weight measurements at a single point in time, which meant the studies couldn't determine if being overweight was really protective against early death, or if a lower weight was a signal that a person was sick and near death. The new study found that when researchers looked at people's weight over many years, the obesity paradox was reversed. Via Live Science.

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Annual Report to the Nation: Cancer Death Rates Continue to Decline

Overall cancer death rates continue to decrease in men, women, and children for all major racial and ethnic groups, according to the latest Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975–2014. The report finds that death rates during the period 2010–2014 decreased for 11 of the 16 most common types of cancer in men and for 13 of the 18 most common types of cancer in women, including lung, colorectal, female breast, and prostate cancers. Meanwhile, death rates increased for cancers of the liver, pancreas, and brain in men and for liver and uterine cancer in women. The report finds overall cancer incidence rates, or rates of new cancers, decreased in men but stabilized in women during the period 1999–2013. Via NIH.

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Yo-Yo Dieting Linked to Heart Trouble, Risk of Death

Repeated cycles of losing and regaining weight may do much more than cause wardrobe problems. New research shows that the weight fluctuations that come with yo-yo dieting may be linked to a higher risk for stroke, heart attack, and death in people with pre-existing coronary artery disease. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that when compared to heart patients who kept their weight steady, those with the largest weight changes experienced: 136% more strokes; 117% more heart attacks; 124% more deaths. Via CBS News.

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Many Government Websites Frustrate Those with Disabilities

Last month the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), a Washington, D.C., think tank, found that 42% of the 300 most popular government websites posed significant accessibility problems. The foundation assigned each website a score based on new rules that don’t take effect until January 2018 as its yardstick, so the webmasters have several months to shape up. But, “There’s a lot of room for improvement,” says ITIF’s Alan McQuinn, co-author of the report. Via Science.

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Mayo Clinic News

Second I Ask for a Second Opinion?

In a study of patients seeking second opinions from the Mayo Clinic, researchers found that only 12% were correctly diagnosed by their primary care providers. More than 20% had been misdiagnosed, while 66% required some changes to their initial diagnoses. “Knowing that more than one out of every five referral patients may be completely [and] incorrectly diagnosed is troubling—not only because of the safety risks for these patients prior to correct diagnosis, but also because of the patients we assume are not being referred at all,” said lead author James Naessens, Sc.D., a Mayo Clinic health care policy researcher, in a statement. Via AARP.

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Mayo Clinic Helps Paralyzed Man Move Legs via Spinal Cord Stimulator

A groundbreaking achievement by Mayo Clinic and UCLA researchers allowed a man, who had lost motor functions after a spinal cord injury, to move his legs for the first time in three years. The new study, which lead author Kendall Lee, M.D., Ph.D., described as a "major breakthrough," was published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings. "We've actually gone beyond our initial hopes," said Dr. Lee, who is a neurosurgeon and Director of Mayo's Neural Engineering Laboratory. Via Tech Times.

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Thyroid Cancer Incidence Plateaued in Recent Years, but Rising in Certain Groups

To examine recent trends in thyroid cancer in different age, race and sex subgroups, Anupam Kotwal, M.B.B.S., clinical fellow at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and colleagues reviewed rates from the National Cancer Institute Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER 18) program from 2000 to 2013. According to Dr. Kotwal, it is unclear whether the rising incidence is some groups is greater due to more testing or whether there has been a true change in the incidence of thyroid cancer. “Drivers for these disparities need to be further evaluated,” he said. Via Healio.

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Researchers Identify Link between Gastric Acid Suppressants and Recurrent C. Diff Infection

According to a press release from the Mayo Clinic, gastric acid suppression drugs like omeprazole, which is a PPI, and ranitidine, an H2b, are commonly used medications sold without a prescription to help treat gastroesophageal reflux disease, peptic ulcer disease, or dyspepsia. There were limitations in the study, like the inability to determine why the gastric acid suppressants were needed, Sahil Khanna, M.B.B.S., senior author, said in the press release. Still, the finding that these drugs could potentially put patients at risk of CDI and its dangerous complications should not be ignored. Via AJMC.

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Discovery's Edge: Cleaning up Cancer

Immunotherapy offers new drugs and drug delivery to help the body’s “janitor” with its job. The response of the immune system to cancer is complicated. Understanding it requires research from the basic scientist to the observation of the seasoned clinician. Via Mayo Clinic News Network.

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Gina Chiri-Osmond

Gina Chiri-Osmond is a Marketing Channel Manager at Mayo Medical Laboratories. She manages public relations and media outreach. Gina has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2011. Outside of work, Gina is going for gold in volleyball at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo . . . or at small-town summer festivals.